Cooper parent company being sold

Published 11:35 am Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cooper Industries PLC, the parent company of Cooper Lighting in Vicksburg, is being purchased by an Ohio company in a deal valued at an estimated $11.46 billion.

The announcement of the sale to Eaton Corp. Monday offered no expectations on the impact for each firm’s plants worldwide, including the plant on U.S. 61 South in Vicksburg that employs about 370 people.

The new company, likely to be called Eaton Global Corporation PLC, will form when the sale closes later this year, pending the approval by shareholders of both companies and the Irish High Court since Cooper’s parent is incorporated in Dublin. Likewise, the combined company will be incorporated in Ireland.

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Ken Mathis, plant manager for Cooper’s electrical products plant on U.S. 61 South, did not return phone calls Monday or this morning.

The company employs nearly 26,000 worldwide.

The Vicksburg plant opened in 1987 and has an annual payroll of about $12 million.

Gary Klasen, a spokesman for Eaton, told The Associated Press the company would not discuss impact on jobs until the transaction closes and officials have a chance to evaluate the new company’s needs. However, he said Eaton’s base in Cleveland would remain intact.

Acquisition talks began in February. On Sunday, Cooper’s Board of Directors voted unanimously that it was in the best interest of the company to go forward with the transaction.

“We are extremely pleased to become part of Eaton’s global electrical business,” said Kirk Hachigian, chairman and chief executive officer of Cooper in a jointly-issued statement. “The two companies are a perfect fit in every respect.”

Terms of the cash-and-stock deal call for Cooper stockholders to receive $39.15 in cash and 0.77479 of a share in the new company. Eaton’s stockholders are expected to own 73 percent of the combined company and are to receive one share of the new company for each Eaton share currently owned. The transaction will be federally taxable to shareholders of both companies.

Cooper’s line of electrical products, wiring components and power transmission and distribution technology has expanded in recent years, most notably into energy-efficient outdoor products that use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

Eaton, founded in 1911, makes electrical and hydraulic components, systems and services. It also makes aerospace fueling, hydraulic and pneumatic systems for the military and various vehicle drivetrain and powertrain systems.

After the deal was announced, industry analysts predicted the move meant electrical products such as outdoor lighting for buildings would make up most of Eaton’s sales and mark the biggest departure from its roots in auto parts.

Stocks for each company went in different directions at the close of Monday’s trading. Cooper rose 25 percent to $69.88 a share, while Eaton’s fell 0.7 percent to $42.09. The new company will trade under Eaton’s current ETN ticker symbol.

Cooper Lighting’s 51-acre site on U.S. 61 South in Vicksburg housed Westinghouse Electric from 1953 to 1982 and later Crouse Hinds until it became Cooper Lighting.